News Hits would be remiss if we didn't mention the death last week of Detroit native Milo Radulovich, 81. His name is probably unfamiliar to most of you, but there was a time back in the 1950s when Radulovich became a symbol of the injustices being spawned by anti-communist hysteria.
In 1953, Radulovich, a World War II vet attending the University of Michigan while continuing to serve as a lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve, learned that both his commission and his benefits were being taken away — all because his father, a Serbian immigrant, subscribed to a Slavic newspaper deemed to be pro-Communist.
Radulovich fought back. As he told a reporter in 2005: "I knew if my case went unresolved, the government could do this to anyone, anywhere."
His case became a cause célèbre after it was featured on Edward R. Murrow's See It Now program. That show set the stage for two subsequent programs that zeroed in on demagogue Sen. Joseph McCarthy, whose name became synonymous with the anti-communist witch hunts of the time. As The New York Times pointed out in its obituary, "It is generally believed that the program was the beginning of the end for the McCarthy era."
Radulovich died from complications related to a stroke suffered earlier this year. In an interview with Metro Times columnist Jack Lessenberry before falling ill, Radulovich made note of the similarities between the Bush administration's Patriot Act and the anti-communist witch hunts of the McCarthy era, saying the parallels were so clear "you'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to see them."
You'd have to be equally disabled not to discern one of the lessons Milo Radulovich taught us all: If tyranny is to be defeated, people of conscience need the courage to stare malignant power in the face and speak the truth.
It is a lesson that can't be forgotten, especially now.News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com